I love how insight comes at random times. There we were, my fellow mama friend and me working out at the Y, BY OURSELVES with no kiddos at 7:15 at night, moving our tushes on the elliptical trainer, talking about life, what we are wrestling with, letting go of, what makes us mad, what brings true happiness…when, bam! It hit me:
“I am living my life from the story (or “stories”) I tell myself.”
In an instant I saw how I have wrapped much of my identity around a few stories I keep telling myself over and over again. Stories that I keep playing out in my relationships and let me stay “the victim.” Stories that I keep asking others to heal.
We do this, don’t we? We have an experience, we have an emotional reaction to that experience, we tell folks about it, and then a few more folks, and soon enough we are waaaay attached to the storyline. We’ve wrapped our identity around who we are in that story. It can be stories from everyday living: “I’ve had such a day! The kids are in the backseat arguing, I have had to go pee for an hour now, I’ve had no break….” It can be stories that we’ve carried for decades of deep trauma, hurt, grief, loss.
In that moment with my friend at the Y, I felt grace move into my heart and I said to myself: “Enough. Drop the story.”
I knew which ones I needed to drop, was ready to drop. I could see how holding on to them had kept me from being fully alive. And full of delight.
Dropping the story is an act of kindness.
Letting go of your story. Not forgetting your stories. Not ignoring them or pretending they didn’t happen or harshly trying to push them away. This is about freeing yourself from how you define yourself, how you play the victim, and how TALKING about the story doesn’t get us any closer to being content.
Sure all that lets off some steam, it makes us feel affirmed…but it can be a slippery slope to “feeling justified” and soon enough we have wrapped who we are around our story.
Can we just BE WITH what arises in us and see it as a story we are telling ourselvea?
Can we just feel it in our bodies and watch it shift as we give it some compassion?
Can we just soften and, as Eckhart Tolle says, “Just drop the story?”
Can we stop asking our partners, parents, or this world to “see what I’ve been through” and see it for ourselves, give ourselves the sweet embrace we long for that no one else can give us, and fall into the arms of our own Self, completely accepting and kind and nurturing and say,
“Ahh, I am here, Dear One”
and say, “That has just been a story you’ve been telling yourself. Wake up now, sweet one, and, feast on your life?”
I believe there is a time and need for voicing/telling our stories. Every culture from the beginning of time has told “our stories.” The stories I am talking about here are the ones that we have based our sense of “self” on that actually rob us of a voice and hinder our “becoming.” The ones that keep us myopically turned inward.
We need to be heard. We need to tell our stories.
But there comes a time when we find that we are holding those stories much too tightly, clinging to a false sense of safety…and identity. There comes a time when it creates more suffering to hold onto those stories than it does to gently, slowly, softly, quietly, confidently stand at the river’s edge and allow the waters to carry them.
There is no forcing this. THAT would be harsh. There is only allowing, opening, and letting go when Life is calling us to wake up and we respond with no effort, with only the deep knowing that it is time.